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First post-Maria permanent health clinics roll up on Puerto Rican shores

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 15, 2018
Health IT Telemedicine X-Ray
Clinic on Wheels has deployed
the first permanent health facilities to
Puerto Rico since the onset of
Hurricane Maria
The first permanent health facilities are now available to the people of Puerto Rico following the onset of Hurricane Maria, in the form of portable medical units equipped with X-ray and telemedicine capabilities.

Deployed this week on to the island of Vieques, the units are provided by Clinics on Wheels, a division of manufacturer World Housing Solution, as part of a collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Health and Florida Hospital Nicholson Center to aid in the recovery effort that has been underway since the storm first touched down in the Caribbean in late September.

“The department of Health for Puerto Rico has been working overtime to come up with innovative, state-of-the-art solutions to address issues and challenges particular to their situation,” Ron Ben-Zeev, CEO of World Housing Solution, told HCB News. “CoW is dedicated to continuing to innovate on how to provide state-of-the-art, off–the-grid medical solutions to address our local needs, such as health deserts, as well as emergency and sustaining needs locally and abroad.”

Though the official death toll is slated to be 64, many sources say it is much higher, with one study placing it above 4,600, according to The Wall Street Journal. The devastation of the hurricane impacted operations at each hospital, such as San Juan's Hospital del Niño which lost power for over a month following the storm, leaving its 35 permanent residents and roughly 3,000 other patients vulnerable.

Powered by solar energy, the medical clinics will be transported around the island on medium duty pick-up trucks, providing X-ray, OB-GYN, pediatric and dental services.

Included in each is access to remote medical expertise and immediate treatment through the use of Florida Hospital Nicholson Center’s Mobile Med Solution, a high-definition video conferencing tool.

The solution enables transmission of high-quality images by phone, tablet or computer and allows for seamless doctor-to-doctor and doctor-to-patient communication. It also connects each clinic back to the main hospital in San Juan and conferences-in multiple on-call physicians to assist with complex cases, enabling patients to start different treatment options without having to wait for a second appointment.

The units are equipped with WHS’ military-grade designs and features, including its Elastic Grid which provides a solar/batteries/generator power system, and are designed with extensive insulation, leveling capabilities, and hurricane resistance.

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